President Obama’s weekly addresses are generally rather laid back and non-confrontational, so it was all the more striking to see the president use the platform to warn Americans about the looming Republican-imposed crises, while chastising the GOP lawmakers themselves.
After arguing that the economy continues to find its footing, Obama added, “[A]fter five years spent digging out of crisis, the last thing we need is for Washington to manufacture another. But that’s what will happen in the next few weeks if Congress doesn’t meet two deadlines.”
The first, obviously, is keeping the government’s lights on, and that deadline is now just one week away. The president marveled that “a faction on the far right of the Republican Party” would “actually plunge this country back into recession – all to deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.”
The second is raising the debt ceiling, which makes it possible for the nation to pay its bills. Note how Obama tried to help the public understand the issue a little better: “This is important: raising the debt ceiling is not the same as approving more spending. It lets us pay for what Congress already spent. It doesn’t cost a dime, or add a penny to our deficit. In fact, right now, our deficits are already falling at the fastest rate since the end of World War II. And by the end of this year, we’ll have cut our deficits by more than half since I took office.”
And with that, Obama made his position clear:
The United States of America is not a deadbeat nation. We are a compassionate nation. We are the world’s bedrock investment. And doing anything to threaten that is the height of irresponsibility. That’s why I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States. I will not allow anyone to harm this country’s reputation, or threaten to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people, just to make an ideological point.
In case that was too subtle, Obama also called House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to tell him the White House will not negotiate if congressional Republicans hold the nation hostage again.
Boehner’s office told reporters it was “a brief call,” which certainly makes sense. How long could it take for a president to say he won’t negotiate with those threatening to hurt Americans on purpose?